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The Last Secret of the Secret Annex - Joop van Wijk-Voskuijl

The Last Secret of the Secret Annex

By: Joop van Wijk-Voskuijl, Jeroen De Bruyn

Paperback | 21 June 2023

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The extraordinary, never-before-told story of Bep Voskuijl, Anne Frank’s closest friend during the 761 days she spent in the Secret Annex.

Bep was just twenty-three when the Franks went into hiding and she risked her life to protect them, plunging into Amsterdam’s black market under the noses of German soldiers and Dutch spies to source food and medicine for the Annex. In those cramped quarters, Bep and Anne’s friendship blossomed. As this book reveals, while she was sharing meals with Anne Frank, Bep’s sister Nelly – whose name was scrubbed from Anne’s published diary – was collaborating with the Nazis.

Written by Bep’s own son, The Last Secret of the Secret Annex interweaves her story with Anne Frank’s and Nelly’s to show us the Secret Annex as we’ve never seen it before. We follow Bep after the war as she struggles to build a life in the shadow of her past, unable to get over losing Anne nor put to rest the horrifying suspicion that she had been betrayed by her own flesh and blood.

Captivating and unsettlingly suspenseful, The Last Secret of the Secret Annex is a portrait of ordinary families caught between the victims and persecutors, in which collaborators and resisters often lived under the same roof. With a moving mother-son relationship at its heart, it explores how historical trauma is inherited from one generation to the next, and how sometimes keeping a secret hurts far more than revealing a shameful truth.

About the Authors

Joop van Wijk-Voskuijl is the third of Bep Voskuijl's four children. He was born in 1949 in Amsterdam. After a successful career as a video producer (creating corporate movies for major Dutch companies) and marketing manager (for newspapers such as NRC Handelsblad and Algemeen Dagblad), Joop retired in 2010 to pursue research and writing with the goal of telling his mother's story. He also volunteers as a guest lecturer, teaching Dutch schoolchildren and other groups about Anne Frank, the Holocaust and the resistance during World War II.

Jeroen De Bruyn was born in 1993 in Antwerp. At age fifteen-the same age as Anne when she died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp-Jeroen began doing original research on the Secret Annex. He got to know the Anne Frank House firsthand during an internship there in 2011. He went on to study journalism, subsequently contributing to prominent Flemish news magazines like Knack and Joods Actueel, and working as a senior editor for the major Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen.
Industry Reviews
Fascinating . . . not only conveys the quiet heroism of what his mother contributed to Anne Frank’s story, but a sad playing-out of a family’s dysfunction, of the pain of survival, of the ripples of trauma flowing into succeeding generations’ 

Other Editions and Formats

Hardcover

Published: 8th January 2023

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